Andrew M Ayers PC - April 2020

APRIL 2020

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Just 10 Minutes Make Time to Free Yourself From Stress

April is National Stress Awareness Month. That sounds like an oxymoron because I don’t think anyone needs to be aware of stress. A 2019 Gallup poll found that 55% of Americans report feeling stressed every day. Few people need to be made aware of stress or the negative impact it can have on our lives. Instead, let’s increase awareness for the ways to deal with stress. A few years ago, when my family moved to Minnesota, life got really stressful. As an attorney, stress has always been a constant, but this got really rough. I could see my stress becoming a problem, so I started researching strategies to deal with it. Meditation kept popping up in articles, blog posts, and podcasts about stress relief, so I decided to give it a try. I downloaded a meditation app called Calm, and now I meditate for 10 minutes each day. It really helps start the day off calmly and in the right mindset. Meditating daily seemed like a big commitment at first, but believe it or not, I was inspired by a Brian Regan joke about microwaving Pop-Tarts. As Regan points out, “If you need to zap-fry your Pop-Tarts before you head out the door, you might want to loosen up your schedule!” If I can’t find 10 minutes in my day to meditate, then clearly I’m way overscheduled. watching TV all night, I have a time when I turn off all my screens and read for a while before bed. It’s another calming activity that gives my brain a chance to relax after staring at screens all day. I try to bookend my day with calming activities to alleviate the stress as best as I can. During the day, I also make some time to exercise. I’ve found that a game of tennis with fellow attorneys is a great source of stress Another way I dealt with stress was by changing my nightly habits. Instead of

relief. As soon as that yellow ball is up in the air, we’re all too focused on the game to talk about work. Promoting healthy forms of stress relief is important to me. I’ve been head of our local bar association’s small firms section for a couple years. We try to create more initiatives to help fellow small-firm lawyers cope with the stress of practicing law and running a business. We encourage activities like meditation, yoga, and other ways to find time for yourself during the day. I personally have worked to create recurring social hours, preferably away from the downtown area. These are great for attorneys to spend time in a more relaxed area, grab a drink, and talk to one another. It’s really relaxing to talk to fellow attorneys about things outside of law. On a few occasions, we’ve just sat around and talked about the books we’re reading!

It’s important to find ways to inject stress relief into your daily life because there’s enough stress in the world. There’s so much focus on being hyperconnected, always on and running around all the time. There’s never any “off time.” You have to discover the best tactics to make time for yourself. If you’re always eating lunch at your desk, pick one day a week where you eat lunch at a cafe with a book. If you’re stressed out each night, leave your phone in another room an hour before bed and read, write, or catch up with the family. There are so many different opportunities to seek stress relief. Just find 10 minutes for yourself each day. Leave your phone on your desk and take a walk. Being able to step away from whatever is stressing you and take time for yourself will make a huge difference every day.

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